Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi Fiona, it is lovely to meet you. I’m Christina Sng and I’m 45.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Singapore—an island just north of the Equator.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne, I began a decade-long career in the IT industry before giving it all up (and writing) to raise my kids.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am still reeling—my first full-length book of poetry A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES was published by Raw Dog Screaming Press last July and this year, it won a Stoker!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was about 5. It seems paradoxical to write before you can read but after my children, I realize reading and writing are both very different skills, both of which can develop independently from the other. I wrote from sounds and images, mainly about animals and the adventures they went on.
When I was young, I grew up surrounded by ghost stories. We lived opposite the site where the World War II torture chambers once stood. An aunt swore she heard chains being dragged across the hallway. Another saw ghosts. I saw nothing, unafraid of the shadows that were cast into our home, having sat in them since I was little, unharmed and untouched. My mother always told me that there were no such things as ghosts in the world, only bad people. So when I wrote about bad people, they became the ghosts.
The why is a bit trickier. It is just something I do. Some people pick up a pencil and draw, others can dismantle things and put them back together. For me, as long as I can remember, it was always writing poems and stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer. But as a professional writer, it was when I wrote articles, corporate white papers, and technical guides. As a professional poet, it was when I began consistently selling my poetry for professional rates. That would be from 2001.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It has always been a life’s dream to hold my very own published book in my hands. For A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES, the stars simply aligned. I had enough good poems. So I picked my best published work from the 17 years prior, some of which had received Rhysling Award nominations and Honorable Mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, spun them around all over my floor and put together a story about living and dying.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My early chapbooks THE DARKSIDE OF EDEN and DARK DREAMS were a glimpse of the book A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES would become. In that same vein, the title was born.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I have no formal training in poetry. The best explanation for how I write is by instinct and by ear. How it sounds, how it looks, how it feels, the story it tells. It doesn’t always work well but in those that don’t, I revise them till they work or discard them, which probably explains why my production of fiction is painstakingly slow.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some are fact. Some are fiction, based on things I observed or read about or was inspired by. All are tempered with a fog of magic and darkness.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I wish I had the luxury to travel! Most days, I have to move mountains to even meet a friend for coffee. But one day, yes, I hope so.
Fiona: Who designed the cover?
The fabulous Steven Archer.
Fiona: Is there a message in your collection that you want readers to grasp?
Life is short and brutal. Cherish those you love.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
The Stoker recommended list of 2017 was full of fantastic work. You could pick up any book and be awed.
My favourite poet is Sylvia Plath. She had a mastery of the form that I greatly admire and her poems are meaningful, powerful, and beautiful.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My writer friends from back in the early 2000s. They kept in touch, emailing me regularly to make sure I was still alive. 🙂
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
People are good and kind.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Gosh, this is a tough one. Kate Beckinsale.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Read widely. Immerse in immersive writing. Keep writing, even if it is gibberish. Out of the ashes, a phoenix is born. Take criticism as a form of course correction. Take the advice and apply it to your work. See if it works. Keep trying another market. Somewhere out there is an editor who loves your work. Keep writing. Keep editing. Find something that brings you wonder and awe.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read my work. Time is such a precious commodity that I am deeply grateful and honored that you have chosen to spend it with me in my book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have a very tall to-read pile which I should start at some point. Of course, I said that five years ago and the pile was much shorter then.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was one of those Peter and Jane books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Funny cat videos make me laugh. Cruelty to the helpless makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Einstein. I’d like to ask him questions about his theories. And also my paternal grandmother when she was young. She lived to 100 and survived two World Wars. I want so badly to know about her life.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to draw and paint. Play music. Garden.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Movies: Wonder Woman, Deep Rising, 17 Again.
TV: Game of Thrones, Lethal Weapon, The Blacklist.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Japanese, Italian, Mexican, and Northern Indian cuisine, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Sia.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would paint, grow a forest, and make toys for my grandchildren. Rescue animals. Tend to the elderly.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Please do a kind deed today after reading this head stone.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Website: christinasng.com (updated twice a month)
Facebook: /christinasng (updated regularly)
Twitter: @christinasng (updated sporadically)
Instagram: @christinasng (sketchy at best)
A Collection of Nightmares: https://www.amazon.com/Collection-Nightmares-Christina-Sng/dp/1935738984/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Sng/e/B079KCCCGK/
Thank you so much for this lovely interview, Fiona!